Mannequins Just Friends


Sounds like Shift mode in the manual. It says that if you put -5V into Run, it’ll retrigger “always”. 0V is end-of-rise, and increasingly negative values move that point “forward” to the start-of-rise (hence “always” at -5V), and positive voltages move it towards end-of-fall (where it goes back to the standard retrigger behavior at +5V).


Nice, I’ll have a closer look as that sounds like just the ticket!

Yup, that’s exactly what I was looking for.

Wish there was a passive way to normalize Run to -5V without having to take up another module/output, particularly in a small skiff. Just having a dummy cable in is an improvement, but given the option I’d have it -5V permanently.


One difference that is mentioned in the documentation is that the output Sound mode is bipolar whereas Shape mode isn’t.


I think this was changed with the post-Run-fix version of JF, but I remember there being something about -12V exposed when plugging it in, or something like that. Basically is there a clever way to have a TRS jack lead plugged in that normalizes the input to -5V?


well, there’s Teletype. otherwise I’m not sure, you could see what only half-inserting a dummy cable does?


Teletype would be good, and something I’ve thought about, but I’ve got limited space, it’s not an efficient solution.

That did get me wondering about whipping up a Teensy LC that just piggybacks the JF and spoofs the appropriate TT Run message, but then that meant I’d always be stuck in that mode.


Yea I have a Mutable Instruments Shades right next to my Just Friends with channel 1 almost always plugged into the Run input. I don’t know of any way to get a dummy cable to output negative voltage – I don’t think it would be possible without power


yeah me too but i believe Norns/Crow/something else i cant remember is apparently going to sort this out as i was gonna do the same thing myself. Having moved the TT i still want just Type and general Mannequins digital interaction (especially with multiple w/'s, w/'s)


So i tried to learn just friends last days and i have the same „is it me or is sth wrong“ moments or permament as others had… i am sure its user dependent but hoping for some help.
The rythm/env generation as far as i tried is very intuitive, no issues there but didnt dig deep.

My main use is as oscillator and i am having some issues i am not sure if they are quantization concerned.

Basically after a few tries i when i tried to play the same sequence i played from ornament and crime into mangrove, getting a nice sounding melody, feed JF v8 the sequence results in absolutely and completely different tones. Played around with different quantization scales etc etc but its neither anything like the melodies when MG was sequenced nor do i get really melodies that make much sense. I understand this has something to do with corresponding waves/knob settings being limited to smal ranges…at least thats my guess like when mangrove has format and square combined with formant and barrel around 9 ccw.

But really cant get any nice melodies out of the JF… since its digital it obviously cant be out of tune?

What makes me reeeeeaaaally skeptical and confused is, i tried to set the same settings Gil does in the official Video from around 11 minute to end and i am not at all getting the same results and sound he does. When i follow his settings my JF voice it pitched much much higher and when he move sthe pitch up and down it sounds like (quantized) logical notes…kind of stepped? I dont get that, just very detuned unstepped pitch.

Sicne in the video the mangrive square is put into trigger 1 i tried sth like that too with simple disting vco but didnt get much closer at all.

I am a bit lost here… wich is okay, i bought JF to get lost in it, but i don’t understand why i cant reproduce those sounds.

I DO get kind of comparable similar bassy choirs. But for some reason much less defined, musicaly valuable scaled etc. when Gil moves some of the knobs like Ramp and Curve i get completely different resulst :confused:
And i get similar sounds only in completely different settings wich adds some more confusion.

Some advice for a JF beginner?

I have no other 1v/o source right now than the OC but since i could sequence MG just fine i dont see this as the source of confusion.


There have been a few changes since the introduction video was made. A couple that come to mind in your case is that the Curve knob was flipped ( now square at full ccw, and sine at full cw) and a couple of the Run modes were moved. Have you checked out the official docs for the latest firmware?


Try this first: go to sound and cycle. set intone and FM each to 12 o’clock. Take output from mix. Set curve and ramp to taste. Send the same sequence from O_c to Mangrove and Just Friends pitch inputs. Listen to Mangrove’s square out for simplicity.

Turn the Time knob on Just Friends and/or the Freq knob on Mangrove to tune the oscillators to each other.


Although Just Friends is digital, it can still be out of tune, since the volt per octave pitch standard is relative to a base frequency setting, not absolute like MIDI.

Anyway, once you’ve got that set up, start experimenting. You’ll soon—in consultation with the manual—figure out what’s going on.

I will second @justmat—copying the knob settings on the video exactly won’t work quite the same anymore, since Just Friends has gone through multiple firmware revisions since then. It should still be possible to get the same sounds, but it will require a knowledge of how the module works, which just needs patient practice.


Great, thanks both of you. I have patience. No problem.
Uhm how do i find out wich firmware? I think its fresh batch from signalsounds but would like to check.

Is it normal that in cycle/sound my trigger leds are constantly on…was that changed too? Since in the vid they r off.

Will test as suggested now


yes, it’s normal for them to be constantly on in cycle/sound—I suspect that the LEDs “see” more or less a copy of the same voltage that comes out of each of the outputs, so if a particular output is active at an audio rate, perceptually you’d most often just see a constant light.

Oh, as for the firmware, if it’s fresh, you likely have either v. 3.0.4 or 3.0.5. I don’t know how to check, but it’s fairly straightforward to update, as explained here. Any changes between the two are … relatively minor at this stage in learning the module, so don’t sweat it.


If you are having trouble with things sounding out of tune the culprit is probably the intone control. Since the identity output is immune from the intone control, try tuning that in unison to your other oscillators and see if you can reproduce the same sequence. If not, you probably have a tracking issue.

If you can get the identity output to follow a sequence as it should, put the intone control at 12 o’clock, as this should tune all of Just Friends’ outputs to the same note. (Sometimes I find a bit of wiggle room with unison slightly ccw of 12 o’clock so ymmv.) If you can get all of the outputs to track the sequence properly in unison with these settings, your module is probably fine. The intone control spreads the frequency (i.e. the tuning) of each output so that they reach the harmonic series at full cw and the undertone series at full ccw. In between these extremes at 12 o’clock theoutputs will probably sound “out of tune” with each other.


Sooo i did test the same sequence to MG and JF replugging back and forth getting tune pretty similar and the problem that is probably the reason or big part of my confusion, the JF ignores some notes that the MG plays… well ignoring them by doubling one of the notes it does play.

So while on MG i get for example C F D and just Friends would paly C C D (just an example) this behavior stays constant over the pitch range and its with all knobs at noon… nothing actually changes this, it wont play every note of the sequence that MG plays…

If this wouldb be chords etc… the corresponding sines… but its just the identity out (mix out much too dirty)

Its a high note that is ignored btw… dont ask me wich one, cant say for sure. The OC sequencer just have bars going up and down from a middle (probably C)


would also highly rec “listening” to the identity output (or a combination of the non-mix multiplier outputs) rather than the mix output, as you’ll isolate an individual tone.


make sure nothing is plugged into the trigger inputs, and that you’re in cycle/sound mode.


Of course…

But thats why i asked if the leds are meant to be on. I also was thinking about them… could they be damaged? But that would be a really curious resulting behavior…cant imagine


No, your module sounds like it’s fine, honestly.